The Perfect Enemy | Study notes high rate of COVID-infected healthcare workers still caring for patients
May 12, 2024

Study notes high rate of COVID-infected healthcare workers still caring for patients

Half of all healthcare workers with symptomatic COVID-19 continued to go to work, even if they were involved with direct patient care.

A survey of poultry farmers in two Nigerian states found that 98% gave prophylactic (preventive) antibiotics to day-old chicks, with 47 different products used across seven drug classes. The Nigeria-based researchers reported their findings this week in Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control.

Using a questionnaire adapted from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) office in Ghana, they collected information on attitudes and practices regarding antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and antimicrobial use (AMU). Participants were from 50 farms in Plateau and Oyo states, chosen to represent northern and southern Nigeria. Researchers held a focus group in Plateau state with farmers and veterinary officials to fine-tune the questions.

Most farmers were aware of biosecurity practices but didn’t understand the rationale behind them, which the researchers said contributed to the use of antibiotic prophylaxis. All farmers reported issues with poultry diseases, with Newcastle disease reported most frequently.

Most had heard about AMR and thought it would have a great impact on them, but most didn’t know about antibiotic residues. Most thought that antibiotics were no longer effective because of the companies that made them, reduced strength of the drugs, and that diseases were becoming untreatable. “This highlights the low perception of AMR among farmers and the need for awareness creation and sensitization,” the researchers wrote.

This highlights the low perception of AMR among farmers.

Antibiotics were easily accessible, and 74% of farmers bought them from poultry drug stores, commonly without a prescription and not based on lab tests.

Over the 3-month study period, 351 kilograms of active ingredients from seven classes were recorded: tetracyclines, penicillins, aminoglycosides, polypeptide, fluoroquinolones, amphenicol, and macrolides. Some products included a cocktail of antibiotics, with some including as many as six antibiotic classes at high concentrations and others not on the list of registered antimicrobials reported to the World Organization for Animal Health.

The team said the survey method could be used to help flesh out antimicrobial use and surveillance data elsewhere. “There is also the need to increase awareness among poultry farmers on the importance of biosecurity, disease preventive measures such as vaccination, and promote the use of probiotics to enhance production,” they wrote.